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Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • BPPV

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Summary
Benign paroxysmal position vertigo (BPPV) is a disorder characterized by brief, recurrent bouts of vertigo. Vertigo is a sensation of spinning, whirling or turning. Individuals often feel as if the room is moving or spinning and they can lose their balance and have difficulty standing or walking. Affected individuals often have abnormal eye movements as well (nystagmus). BPPV is most often triggered by rapid, sometimes unexpected changes in head position. The severity of the disorder varies. In some cases, it only causes mild symptoms, while in others it can potentially cause more severe, even debilitating symptoms. BPPV may disappear on its own only to return weeks or months later. Most affected individuals can be easily and effectively treated by non-invasive methods such as canalith (or canalolith) repositioning maneuvers. However, BPPV may recur even after effectively treated. BPPV is believed to be caused by the displacement of small calcium carbonate crystals within the inner ear. These tiny crystals become dislodged from their normal location and fall into one of three semicircular canals, which are tiny, interconnected, looped tubes that can detect movements of the head and that play a role in helping the body maintain balance. The exact, underlying cause of this displacement is not always known (idiopathic). Recurrences are possible because additional calcium can become dislodged. The treatment maneuvers remove the calcium but do not prevent the shedding of additional calcium crystals in the future.

Introduction
BPPV has been identified as a clinical entity since the late 1800s. The term benign means that the disorder is not progressive and is not considered serious. Although labeled benign, BPPV can disrupt a person's daily activities and affect quality of life. The term paroxysmal means that episodes arise suddenly and often unpredictably. The term positional means the disorder is contingent on a change of the position of the head.
BPPV is one of the most common causes of vertigo.

Resources

Vestibular Disorders Association
PO Box 13305
Portland, OR 97208-4467
USA
Tel: (503)229-7705
Fax: (503)229-8064
Tel: (800)837-8428
Email: veda@vestibular.org
Internet: http://www.vestibular.org

American Nystagmus Network, Inc.
303-D Beltline Place, #321
Decatur, AL 35603
USA
Email: bduck@nystagmus.org
Internet: http://www.nystagmus.org

American Academy of Audiology
11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190
Tel: (703)790-8466
Fax: (703)790-8631
Tel: (800)222-2336
Email: infoaud@audiology.org
Internet: http://www.audiology.org

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  9/23/2011
Copyright  1987, 1989, 1998, 2000, 2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization of Rare Disorders

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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